Securing Your Data

IT security threats can wreak havoc on a small business, posing concerns for business owners and customers alike.

Securing your data does not have to be a daunting task; there are some simple steps you can take to minimise your risk of a data breach, such as the following:

Update software

Security software needs to be installed on all of your business’s devices and regularly updated to protect against emerging online threats. Keep up to date with antivirus and anti-spyware software, use good firewall and a secure wireless connection.

Regularly back up

Backing up your data regularly is one of the most important safeguards to protecting your data.  A combination of on-site, i.e. hard drives connected to a computer, and off-site (cloud technology) backups should be used.

Cloud-based backups are useful for storing sensitive information but are not suitable for large backups, such as videos and photos. Cloud technology allows you to retrieve your data from elsewhere, if one backup goes down. It protects against internet theft as the data is encrypted before it sent to the cloud.

Build a culture of data privacy

Creating a culture of IT security in your workplace helps to educate staff and set expectations around technology uses. A good privacy policy should outline IT security and confidentiality.  Reviewing your policy regularly and creating a contingency and disaster plan can help to prevent and manage mishaps.

The Ins And Outs Of Workplace Warnings

Warnings are an important workplace tool in helping to ensure that employees understand their employer’s expectations.

They also serve as evidence of a fair performance management process and provide supporting evidence should the employee be terminated.  Warnings can play a crucial role in defending unfair dismissal claims as it provides evidence that the employee was aware that they were displaying unsatisfactory workplace performance and conduct.

A workplace warning is defined as a communication, be it verbal, or written, to an employee about their performance or conduct at work. Warnings are a tool used to communicate an identified area where an employee needs improvement, or where their conduct does not meet the required standard.

The aim of delivering a workplace warning is to give the employee an opportunity to improve their workplace performance or conduct. Verbal warnings are usually administered before a written one as they are less informal and are usually of a less serious nature.

That is they do not warrant summary dismissal. Once a warning has been issued the employee’s performance or conduct is usually monitored for a set period of time.

A written warning should be issued after a warning meeting has taken place.  At the conclusion of the meeting, the employee is advised that they will be receiving a written warning in the following couple of days.

Generally, most written warnings will comprise of the following:

  • record who was present at the warning meeting
  • record the fact that the employee was invited to have a support person present
  • outline the conduct or performance which is the reason for the warning
  • where appropriate refer to a relevant policy or the employment contract
  • refer to previous warnings that were issued
  • record the employee’s responses to the matters in issue
  • clearly state that the employee needs to improve, including an explanation of the consequences for failure to improve
  • where relevant, provide support for the employee to improve such as training
  • preferably be countersigned by the employee as evidence of their understanding of the warning

There is no legal requirement as to how many warnings must be given prior to termination.  The unspoken rule is to use anything from one to three written warnings, to ensure that the employee is given enough notice and time to improve their performance or conduct.

However, it is always a good idea to refer to the company’s policy and any performance management procedures that may be in place before deciding when to terminate an employee.

There is also no legal rule that defines how long a warning remains current. Generally, it is unusual for a warning to remain current after six months had passed with no more warnings being issued.  Workplace warnings are an important tool for employers to communicate their expectations to their employees. Failure to implement, or appropriately manage, warnings can come at a high price.

How To Find Your Target Market

Knowing your target market can help to differentiate your business from competition, tailor your marketing efforts to better meet customer needs and potentially boost sales.

A broad target market that tries to appeal to “everybody” can easily get lost amongst the crowd.

Demographics alone, such as age, gender, income and occupation, do not provide enough insight into the attributes of your target customer.

When constructing a target market profile, narrow down your typical customer with consideration to geographic, psychographic, and behavioural characteristics to develop a clear and specific vision of your target market.


Segmenting your target customer through geographic involves considering what continent, country, city or town they may live in, the size of the area, the climate and if they live in specific neighbourhoods.


Categorising your target market through psychographics, uses personality and interests to define your target customer.  Psychographics analyses variables such as lifestyle, attitude, values, personality traits, social class, activities and opinions.


Behavioural segmentation involves your target customer’s behaviour towards your products or services.  It can include the benefits sought, how often they will use your product or service, their loyalty to your brand, their readiness to buy your products/services or if your products or services are used for a specific occasion.

How To Reinvent Your Business

Small businesses should always be open to the idea of reinventing themselves to stay relevant to today’s customers and marketplace.

Business owners who resist change and leave it too late to reinvent risk stumbling behind and at worst failing. Instead, businesses should focus on a proactive approach to growth for optimal business performance and success.

Making a commitment to reinvention before the need does not come naturally; it requires planning. Here are three ways to make sure your business does not get left behind:

Continually forecast

Industries are continually shifting – competitors are introducing new products, customer needs are ever-changing and technology is transforming the way business was traditionally performed. Forecasting change is essential to be a competitive leader in your industry.

High performing businesses exploit existing businesses that have not yet peaked and recognise untapped markets. High performers also understand that remaining competitive means some form of risk taking is necessary.

Focus on strategy

Strategic planning is imperative to make reinvention possible. Businesses need to detect shifts in their industry ideally before they happen.  The best way to predict these shifts is to involve line managers, frontline employees, store managers etc into the strategic process, as they often pick up on insights business owners can easily miss.

For a business to reinvent itself, it needs a permanent strategy which continually scans the market for unsolved problems and untapped customer needs.

Invest in top talent

Successful businesses need teams of talent to run and grow the business effectively.  Business owners need not only hire the right type of candidate but they must strengthen and prepare individuals for the challenges that will arise when reinventing. Businesses need to invest time into developing their employees to enable them to succeed in their work.

By first looking at what their employees are required to do day to day, business owners can assess what factors are fuelling (or limiting) their success.

How can we help you?

Today’s financial environment demands a regular review of strategy and a focus on execution.